Duquesne Taps Experienced State College Leader as New Public Safety Director
After a national search, Thomas M. Hart, a public safety leader with 30 years of experience, will become the new director of public safety at Duquesne University, effective Aug. 15. At Duquesne, Hart replaces Jim Caputo, who retired on Aug. 1 as director of public safety with nearly 40 years of service.
Hart, assistant chief of the State College Police Department, has served on that force for 28 years in positions ranging from patrol officer to criminal investigator, traffic and warrant sergeant and commander of the Detective Division as well as of the Patrol, Detective and Records Division. He worked closely with the Penn State police force, playing an integral role in fostering a positive relationship between the community and the campus.
At Duquesne, he will lead a department of more than 50 police and security officers and support personnel. Duquesne’s public safety department is one of only three universities in the state to be accredited by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, and the University was the first school in the city of Pittsburgh to implement an outside emergency warning system for use in crisis situations in 2009. Duquesne also established a DU Emergency Alert System allowing registered employees and students to receive alerts via cell or land lines, text messages and/or call. The department instituted bicycle patrols so that officers can quickly access all points of the nearly 50-acre urban campus.
Hart will continue Duquesne’s successful history of collaboration with city, county, state and federal law enforcement and safety agencies. In State College, Hart had established long-term, collaborative relationships across five local law enforcement agencies, as well as with state police and the FBI. His supervisory duties have included the department’s participation in a regional drug task force and providing resource officers to local middle and high schools. A founding member of the regional mobile command post committee for major crisis events, Hart’s special event planning has included logistics for three presidential and many VIP visits, as well as for Penn State football games and the Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, which each attract more than 100,000 participants.
Chair of the Internal Affairs Complaints Investigation board, including accident and officer injury review, Hart was recognized for conducting disciplinary reviews and employee evaluations fairly and consistently. His responsibilities have encompassed implementing and monitoring new officer development, and Hart has instructed police training at the Allegheny County Police Academy and Harrisburg Area Community College.
Experienced in budget matters, Hart has balanced budgetary objectives with public safety needs. His budgetary expertise extends beyond the force, since he has served as long-time president of the board of directors for the State College Federal Credit Union, which holds $13 million in assets.
Hart, 53, received the Northwestern Command School Franklin Kreml Leadership Award, a commendation letter from then-state Attorney General Tom Corbett and certificates of commendation for initiating and leading two joint task forces, among his many accolades. Besides serving the community through his public safety positions, Hart has volunteered as chairman of the Borough United Way Pacesetter campaign, attracting a 25 percent overall increase in contributions. A community mentor and teacher for the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of the South Hills School of Business and a member of the Pennsylvania Judicial Review Board, Hart also has been active as a hands-on and fundraising volunteer with organizations including the Special Olympics and The ARC. He has been active as a youth basketball and baseball coach, and is a current umpire and referee.
A graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in Evanston, Ill., Hart also graduated from the Police Executive Development Institute at Penn State. He completed two years of graduate courses in the administration of justice at Penn State and earned a B.S. in sociology, with a concentration in criminal justice, from Clarkson University. He also is a certified police officer through the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s NYSS Regional Academy and the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.